“Chortitza Mennonite Gravestone Project in Ukraine” by Werner Toews, author of “Sketches from Siberia”
Wednesday February 19, 2020. 7:00 pm.
Thomson Funeral Home, 669 Broadway Ave., Winnipeg.
The village of Chortitza — now part of the city of Zaporizhia, on the Dnieper River — was the first and largest settlement of Mennonites in Ukraine, founded in 1789 at the invitation of Russian Empress Catherine II. The recent demolition of an abandoned building in the city has uncovered a foundation that incorporates more than a hundred gravestones taken from a Mennonite cemetery destroyed by the former Soviet Union in the 1930s. The restoration of the stones, some of them old enough to commemorate original founders of the community, is being spearheaded by a young Ukrainian historian, Max Shtatsky. The forced exodus of Mennonites from the area in 1943 brought many descendants of the Chortitza colonists to Canada, with the majority settling in Manitoba.
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